In Aliens (1986), the occupants of the Sulaco are in "hypersleep" for the journey, but how long did it take? When Asked how long before they would be overdue Hicks replies 17 days, presumably plus travel time extending that. If they journey would take months, then any rescue of either the colonists or the marines would almost be pointless.

  • According to the answer to this question, it's 3 weeks - but I'm not putting that as an answer because it's not clear where they sourced that figure from: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/8386/… – user22478 May 2 '19 at 2:58

The script is pretty clear on this one.


The novelisation also agrees (in several places)

Ripley’s outburst sparked no more conversation than that as the troopers finished breakfast and retired to the ready room. Ranks of exotic weaponry lined the walls behind them. Some clustered their chairs and started an improvised game of dice. Tough to pick up a floating crap game after you’ve been unconscious for three weeks, but they tried nonetheless. They straightened lazily as Gorman and Burke entered, but snapped to when Apone barked at them.

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I'm pretty sure there is not a definitive travel time given in Aliens, but there is one in Alien. After the Nostromo takes off from the planetoid, Lambert announces that, with the damage the ship has sustained and the fuel they used up, it will take them ten months to reach Earth. This provokes a round of grumbling, and it is obviously longer than it should have taken to travel that distance. Moreover, the Nostromo is a commercial vessel, not a military one on an emergency mission. So we can pretty safely say that ten months is an upper limit on the Sulaco's travel time, which is most likely a matter of weeks or months, unless it uses qualitatively different form of faster-than-light travel than the Nostromo.

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  • the Nostromo doesn't take off from LV426 just the landing craft and therefor don't incur any damage. When does this scene you're talking about take place, I don't recall it from original or directors cut? – Seamusthedog May 6 '19 at 18:42
  • @Seamusthedog The Nostromo is the name of the human-crewed craft, which lands on the planet. The normal function of the Nostromo is as a tug for the unmotorized refinery. It is the refinery the Nostromo separates from before it lands on the planetoid. – Buzz May 6 '19 at 19:18
  • @Seamusthedog The scene where Lambert quotes the travel time may only be present in the 2003 cut of the film (marketed as the "director's cut and indeed supervised by Ridley Scott, although he said the original 1979 cut was still his preferred version). – Buzz May 6 '19 at 19:44

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